Wednesday, February 7, 2024

Senator Richard D. Roth Unveils Transformative Legislation to Address California’s Nursing Shortage Through California Community Colleges

The Community College League of California Serves as a Co-Sponsor for the Pilot Program to Greenlight Baccalaureate Degrees in Nursing 

Sacramento—To help address California’s shortage of Registered Nurses (RNs) Senator Richard D.Roth (D-Riverside) has introduced Senate Bill 895 which creates a pilot program that authorizes the Chancellor of the Community Colleges to select up to 15 community college districts, with existing nationally accredited Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN), programs to offer a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree.
“For decades, California has suffered from a shortage of Registered Nurses, and this problem has been exacerbated in recent years due to the pandemic and it’s expected to worsen due to an increase in RN retirements. While the nursing shortage is a national problem, it is particularly acute here in our state,—ranking 40th out of 50 states. A key factor contributing to this crisis is that California’s nursing school capacity has not been able to keep up with demand. In 2018, more than 85% of hospitals in California reported that the demand for RN’s was greater than the available supply – a situation that has not improved. But there is a path forward to help solve this problem and that path cuts right through our California Community Colleges. Our SB 895 creates a pilot program allowing community colleges to offer a bachelor’s degree in nursing, which is increasingly the industry standard, and a requirement for employment in our hospitals,” said Senator Roth.
“I am proud to join Senator Roth in authoring this important piece of legislation. By allowing select community colleges to offer a Bachelor’s in Nursing, we are making the nursing profession more accessible. For regions like mine that are historically underserved and continue to suffer from a healthcare workforce shortage, this program is a game changer. Students will have the opportunity to earn a Bachelor’s in Nursing close to home and creates a pathway for aspiring nurses to be trained in the communities that most need them,” said Senator Anna Caballero (D-Merced).

“The Community College League of California is grateful to Senator Roth for demonstrating his leadership by authoring SB 895 to address California's nursing shortage. The League is honored to serve as a co-sponsor of this timely and important legislation. SB 895 offers a solution that creates a viable pathway for students to become nurses and, in turn, improve the health and welfare in their own communities.,” said Larry Galizio, President & CEO, Community College League of California.
“The healthcare staffing crisis is a major area of need for California’s workforce and a priority for the California Community Colleges. We look forward to collaborating with the Governor and Legislature, our labor and industry partners, educators, and our colleges on this critical issue,” said Sonya Christian, Chancellor, California Community Colleges.

“The Chief Executive Officers of the California Community Colleges (CEOCCC) Board enthusiastically supports Senator Roth’s legislation to increase pathways to nursing degrees through community colleges. Many of our campuses have extraordinary nursing programs, and the expansion to include BSN degrees broadens affordable and locally accessible options in the state. Students have great interest in seeking this degree as the means to a high-paying career yet need an affordable and accessible approach. California community colleges have the capacity and the desire to serve students’ needs for nursing baccalaureate programs, and this legislation provides an immediate and sustainable solution,” said Julianna Barnes, CEOCCC President, League Board Chair, Chancellor, South Orange County Community College District
“The United Nurses Associations of CA/Union of Health Care Professionals (UNAC/UHCP) is proud to sponsor SB 895 because it will increase access to affordable BSN programs in the community.  As a graduate of a community college nursing program in the City of Los Angeles, having accessible programs will allow the next generation of nurses to remain in their communities after graduation,” said Charmaine Morales, RN, President, UNAC/UHCP.
For over 40 years, the community college Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) has been the basic credential requirement for employment as an RN in a healthcare facility; and the California State University, the University of California, and private nursing schools have historically awarded BSNs to those who elect to pursue a four-year degree.
However, the healthcare workforce requirements are changing – hospitals are increasingly preferring and requiring a BSN degree for their nurses. In 2010, the Institute of Medicine issued its Future of Nursing report which contained a set of recommendations, including the recommendation that the proportion of RN’s with a BSN degree in health care facilities increase to 80% by 2020. In California, a 2021 Health Impact report found that 18% of California hospitals surveyed stated that a BSN was required for employment – twice the percentage noted in 2017 – and 54.3% reported a preference for hiring BSNs.
The way to bridge the BSN gap in this State is to utilize existing ADN programs at community colleges to assist CSU and UC in addressing this shortage. This bill would offer a way to close this gap by taking advantage of existing ADN programs in the State. With the difference between an ADN and a BSN being only an additional  30 units of coursework, several ADN programs are well-positioned to expand their offerings to BSN degrees.
SB 895 does this in an incremental way by creating a pilot program that authorizes the Chancellor of the Community Colleges to select up to 15 community college districts with existing nationally accredited ADN programs to offer a BSN degree to 25% of existing ADN classes, or 35 students, whichever is greater. By operating within the existing ADN program authorization, the program will not require additional supervised clinical placements and is intended to be cost-neutral.


The Community College League of California is a nonprofit public benefit corporation whose voluntary membership consists of the 73 districts and 116 community colleges in California. The League promotes student access and success by strengthening colleges through advocacy, policy development, leadership development, and district services.